Collection Update

Collection Update: the Hot Wheels MOD ROD collection hits 10 variants with 2023 Treasure Hunt release

I love collecting Hot Wheels original designs like the #Mod Rod. No hype. No inflated prices. No collectors hoarding every single one off the pegs or raiding pallets. Besides the obvious, collecting #Unlicensed Hot Wheels has often exposed me to car genres I probably would have never dabbled in. For the Mod Rod, I find myself looking more and more into custom-built hot rods. The hot rods of today seem nothing like the “show rods” of 20 to 30 years ago where people were restoring and rodding out cars from the 1930s. As evidenced by the Hot Wheels Legends Tour, people are building hot rods from the ground up, using anything from technology to spare parts.

When Hot Wheels released the #Mod Rod in 2019, I instantly geeked out over the design. There is so much to like about this Hot Wheels original design by designer, Dmitriy (Dima) Shakhmatov. The panoramic front window, billet grille, cone-shaped exhaust, and three spikes coming out of the top of the engine are all cool design elements that give the casting a mean look. Oh, and that stance… wicked!

Orange Track Diecast
Hot Wheels Mod Rod Casting Collection (family photo, March 2023)

I’ve really enjoyed collecting the Hot Wheels #Mod Rod over the last four years as the collection has amassed 10 pieces now. The first release in “moody blue” is still my favorite. I also see that name “moody blue” — which I used to describe this very unique color in my October 2019 article — was adopted by the Hot Wheels Wiki/Fandom. The “moody blue race team” selects one Hot Wheels original design every year, and it was the Mod Rod that started the trend. The Hot Wheels Mod Rod is so vogue!

Orange Track Diecast
Hot Wheels Mod Rod from the 2019 Factory Fresh mini collection (also part of the 2023 New Models)

Seriously!?!?! How do you top an epic first release? Well, there are ways… *cough* super treasure hunt, *cough* premium *cough* build a 1:1, but the #Mod Rod was simply re-upped for the 2020 mainline as part of the HW Dream Garage segment. The matte black variant seemed very on-point for this casting, but the metalflake dark red variant that preceded it just didn’t hit in the same way subjecting the casting to its first pegwarmer status.

Orange Track Diecast
Hot Wheels Mod Rod from the 2020 HW Dream Garage mini collection: both red and black variants

The #Mod Rod would ultimately return to the mainline in 2021, but first came a very surprising release: an #Employee Exclusive! The metalflake gold release below was given as a “Happy Birthday” present to Hot Wheels factory employees in the Penang, Malaysia plant during the #2021 Hot Wheels year. The car wears #iD5 wheels that were exclusive to the #Hot Wheels iD line yet there is no clear base or NFC chip in the bottom of this one, meaning it is not actually an iD vehicle. This car actually has a very cool deco, and the fact that it is very limited, ranks it among my favorites in this collection.

QUICK LINK! Find the Hot Wheels Employee “Happy Birthday” Mod Rod on eBay.

Orange Track Diecast
Hot Wheels Mod Rod, a 2021 Mattel employee “Happy Birthday” exclusive from the Penang, Malaysia production facility

HW Flames has been a cornerstone in the Hot Wheels mainline. Flames have been associated with the Hot Wheels brand since 1968. Whenever I come across a Hot Wheels car with flames, I often look to see if there was any strategy as to how the flames were laid out across the body. For the HW Flames #Mod Rod releases in 2021, the graphic designer did something really cool: he (most likely Jerry, Mike, or Leeway) made it look like the flames were shooting out those cone-shaped exhaust pipes that protrude the exterior. With this release, I also learned that I really love the way the #Steelie 8-Spoke Wheels look on this casting.

Orange Track Diecast
Hot Wheels Mod Rod from the 2021 HW Flames mini collection: both white and blue variants

Before 2021 was over, we saw another very limited release of the #Mod Rod come-about. Released exclusively in Australia — as part of a promo for Australian telecommunications company, Optus — this Mod Rod was given mostly to youngsters who participated in the “Super Zoomy Loopy Hot Wheels Race” in the concourse of various shopping centers in New South Wales. The layout was a pretend living room with various Hot Wheels track sets in it. By participating, kids (and adults) received this promotional car along with a carton of other promotional goodies. The whole setup was part of Optus’ “YES” campaign, and the yellow ribbon-like deco features the “Ye” on one side, and the “s” on the other.

QUICK LINK! Find the Optus Mod Rod on eBay.

Orange Track Diecast
Hot Wheels Mod Rod from the 2021 Australian Optus promotion

Only a couple months after the #Mod Rod appeared in the Optus promo (December 2021), the casting appeared in another. In March 2022, the black Broken Promises release would be sold by the clothing company on their web site. The release came on a unique Broken Promises blister card before ultimately being released in the 2022 “K” case assortment under the Rod Squad mini collection. In late 2022, the second colorway of the Rod Squad Mod Rod was released, however, this one featured a new deco with the #56 on the doors and in mint green paint. Very rarely do Hot Wheels vehicles change deco — outside of colors — in the mainline, but this is one of those exceptions.

Orange Track Diecast
Hot Wheels Mod Rod from the 2022 Rod Squad mini collection: mint green #56 and Broken Promises deco

The #Mod Rod returns for 2023 as a regular #Treasure Hunt in the #2023 Hot Wheels “E” case assortments. Not only is one of my favorite castings being highlighted as a Treasure Hunt, but it will also join my massive #Hot Wheels Race Team collection. The HW 55 Race Team deco — for Hot Wheels’ 55th birthday — features matte blue paint with reddish orange windows. Once again, the graphic designer appears to have the Hot Wheels flame logo coming out of those cone-shaped exhaust pipes. The circle #Flame Logo (TH) appears on the sides of the vehicle on the rear pillars.

QUICK LINK! Find the Hot Wheels Mod Rod Treasure Hunt on eBay.

Orange Track Diecast
Hot Wheels Mod Rod from the 2023 HW 55 Race Team mini collection (also part of the 2023 Treasure Hunts)

Being that this newest release is a #Treasure Hunt, and #Hot Wheels Race Team car, and the 10th variant in my #Mod Rod collection, I thought it was the perfect time to showcase this #Collection Update. Please let me know what your favorite release is (and why) in the comments below!

13 replies »

  1. Very well written! I really enjoyed article, especially because I also love the Mod Rod. I collect some odd things that I cherish as well, Fandango being one too! I do not have the Birthday Release, but I have managed to secure most of the others except the E Case TH, which I was extremely shocked by. I literally ordered an entire E case just to ensure I got one, and then as luck would have it, for the first time I got a case with no Regular of Super TH, such a bummer, UGH! With a bit of luck though, most collectors won’t care about it, and when the E case finally starts to appear in my area, maybe I will be able to secure a couple..

    Thanks for letting me chime in! Have a great one!
    Vince K. (Hot_Wheels_Heaven)

    • Thanks for chiming in, Vince! I’ll let you know if I come across any. Check your 9-Packs! Collectors have reported finding the Mod Rod TH in those. I’ll have to get together a Fandango collection update once I get the new WB one.

  2. When do we get a metal based version in Premium?

    If not…why NOT??!

    I know, I know, it’s not JDM/Import/Muscle Ca…BLAH BLAH BLAH!

    • Also, thanks for letting me know about the birthday version so I can lightly set my dreams down of being a completist on a casting. The “Happy Birthday” on the iD wheels is pretty cool.

      I really hope that they use those iD wheels as the new FTE wheels and add nickel plated axels for a Mainline 20th anniversary of the FTEs in 2025.

  3. Outside of McLaren castings, this is my favorite casting to date. I was hooked once I saw the first images released. I hope to see more of these in all variations and colors. Would love a Mod Rod rainbow collection.

  4. Great article! I too love the Mod Rod ever since it was released. All of them are pretty cool, but like you, the “moody blue” edition may be my favorite. Although the mint green #56 is right up there too.
    I also enjoy several of the Hot Wheels original designs. One of my favorites is The Gov’ner. And the best of them is the first First Edition – flat black, no tampos, full width red taillight. There are quite a few Originals I enjoy.
    Again, thanks for the article!

    • Can’t beat that Moody Blue! I do like the Gov’ner as well. I’ll have to dig out those original releases and the variations on those. Those are the best editions of the Gov’ner.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s